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As part of a series of interviews that BluegrassPreps.com is conducting in 2018 with coaches around the Commonwealth, BGP had a chance to catch up with Kevin Wallace, new head football coach of the 6A St. Xavier Tigers.


BGP:
Tell us a little about your coaching background - which schools you've been at as a head coach or as an assistant before you started at St. Xavier? Which positions have you had personal experience coaching?

Coach Wallace:
1981-1983 Assistant Coach - Warren East
1984-1990 Head Baseball Coach - Warren East (142-71)
1984-1993 Head Football Coach - Warren East (45-61)
1990-1994 Athletic Director - Warren East
1994-1995 Assistant Football Coach - Bowling Green (Running Backs & Quarterbacks). 1 state championship, 1 state runner-up.
1996-2017 Head Football Coach - Bowling Green (254-41). 5 state championships, 3 state runner-ups.

BGP: What was it that made you realize you wanted to be a coach? It's obviously not as easy a job to do in this day and age as it may have been in the past. Are there any particular individuals or coaches who pushed you to realize that it's what you wanted to do?

Coach Wallace: I started coaching as a student in college per the urging of my high school coach [at Warren East], Jim Ross. The biggest impact on my professional career came years later as an assistant at Bowling Green, working for Dan Haley. Coach Haley was a masterful organizer and very attentive to detail, two attributes that I believe have been essential ingredients to the success I’ve enjoyed.

BGP: Are there any games in your coaching career, or even as a player or spectator of a high school game, that you look back at and think, 'Man…now THAT was a memorable game' ?

Coach Wallace: I’ve been so lucky to be a part of some fantastic atmospheres. However, the memories of the relationships developed with players and coaches over shadow those individual games.

BGP: A lot of teams adopt some sort of motto or a mission statement for the program, or even for the individual program year? Does your team have one right now? Do you have a different motto for yourself as a coach?

Coach Wallace: This season is the 100th in school history at St. X. I think that it is an important year to honor our history and hopefully inspire former Tigers to join our “Culture of Us” as we attack the challenges ahead this season.

BGP: If I were to ask your players - past or present - if there's one thing they hear you say the most, what do you think it would be?

Coach Wallace: “You never stay the same. You’re either getting better or worse everyday. “

BGP: So many players come into a high school program these days with significant experience from pee-wee or middle school programs, and some of them are even walking into the 9th grade already having thoughts about getting college exposure. What is your approach to coaching your team knowing that you may have players walking onto the practice field who may not have any prior football experience at the same time as players who may have 7 or 8 years of football experience and coaching?

Coach Wallace: George Fant was the starting left tackle for Seattle last season, prior to an injury. George played little league football, then played sparingly as a 5th year football player at WKU, following a great 4-year basketball career as a Topper. His story is a great example of what you can do if you cut out the noise of the naysayers, commit to a positive attitude, and put in great work to develop confidence in your abilities. My point: Anyone with an ability to play that has the positive characteristics of George Fant can achieve at a high level, no matter their experience.

BGP: What were the first two or three steps you decided needed to be taken when you took over the St. X football program?

Coach Wallace: St. X has one of the best programs in Kentucky and have been led by quality men, past and present. I would not want to disparage the contributions of those outstanding individuals by discussing needed change. I'd rather say that a bit of “tweaking” was necessary to run the program in a manner that I have been accustomed.

BGP: You had the opportunity to see the Tigers on the field when Bowling Green played them last September, and now you've had the chance to work with those St. X players during Spring practice. What strengths do you see the team offering you as a coach prior to really getting into the nuts and bolts of summer practice?

Coach Wallace: I believe we have talented players who believe in each other. If we can can continue to build on those characteristics, we have a chance to improve daily.

BGP: Is there anything new that the St. X fans can expect to see on the football field this season? Or anything that you think Bowling Green fans would recognize when the Tigers take the field in 2018?

Coach Wallace: I hope fans will see a team that plays with great effort and team spirit, led by a coaching staff that is committed to putting the best positions to make plays that can impact the game.

BGP: If you could pare down all of the qualities that you look for in a player, and get down to just one or two top qualities that you like to see the most, what would they be?

Coach Wallace: A combination of talent, work ethic, and being a great teammate would be an ideal mixture to lead a team.

BGP: Who are some of the players on your team this year that we should expect to see a lot out of?

Coach Wallace: Most of our experience is on the defensive side of the ball. Using a baseball analogy, I think we have a solid group “up the middle” including our defensive line, inside linebackers, and safeties. Patrick Owen, Cameron Sams, Sam Boarman, Richard Bascom, Alex Bascom, and Jude Carlon will likely be outstanding performers in those areas. Offensively, RB Anthony Moretti enters 2018 as our most experienced played. We will build our offense around Anthony and our talented quarterback, Keegan Sullivan.

BGP: Are there any teams that you would like to look at getting onto the St. Xavier schedule within the next handful of years?

Coach Wallace: Our schedule is set through 2020.

BGP: What are some of your favorite things to do when you have a little time in the off-season and you're not in football coaching mode?

Coach Wallace: Spending time with my family.

BGP: Which college / NFL teams do you root for the most?

Coach Wallace: Purdue - my son, Ryan, is the Offensive Quality Control Coach. And any place where I have former players (Louisville, WKU, Navy, Georgia Tech, Austin Peay, Kentucky Wesleyan, Centre, etc.)


BluegrassPreps.com would like to give a big thank you to Coach Wallace for offering us some of his valuable time to answer our questions!